Off-duty Jeffco sheriff’s deputy agrees to plea deal in crash that paralyzed girl

Taylor was not on-duty and not driving a sheriff’s office vehicle at the time of the crash.
'Not guilty' plea entered by off-duty sheriff's deputy accused of causing crash that paralyzed girl
Posted at 4:47 PM, May 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-10 07:49:29-04

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — On the day his trial was to start, an off-duty Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy who was accused of causing a multi-vehicle crash that paralyzed a 10-year-old girl, pleaded guilty on two charges.

Jerold Taylor was accused of failing to slow down ahead of stopped traffic on I-70 near Genesee causing the July 15, 2023 crash that paralyzed Lucy Harris.

The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office on Thursday told Denver7 Taylor pleaded guilty to two charges of careless driving resulting in injury, which are misdemeanor charges.

Two other charges of careless driving resulting in injury were dismissed, the DA’s office said.

Both parties agreed that Taylor would not serve jail time but would pay over $3.2 million in restitution, according to the DA.

Taylor previously pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Harris car crash
Peter Harris took this photo of his wife Jennifer's car after the crash.

A report from the Colorado State Patrol claimed Taylor was distracted by something outside of his vehicle.

Lucy, who attended Taylor’s arraignment hearing, said all she remembered from the crash was being inside her mother’s car as they headed to the mountains and later waking up in a hospital.

“Just to show everyone that, like, I'm in a wheelchair and I'm not the same anymore," Lucy told Denver7.

Lucy’s father, Peter, said his daughter’s recovery had been difficult but he had been moved by the community’s response to the crash.

"She smiles all the time," Peter said about Lucy. “She's a really bright person and she's going to make it through, and she's going to be strong and do some amazing things.”

10-year-old girl paralyzed after I-70 crash, family pushes for accountability in case
Lucy Harris, 10, is described as smart, strong, and sassy.

During Taylor’s arraignment hearing, Peter addressed what he described as a broader problem on Colorado roads.

“A lot of people are choosing not to look where they're going, choosing to put their attention somewhere else and going 70 miles an hour," said Peter. "Lucy was the one left holding the bag here and it could have been anybody. So, I'm just trying to raise public awareness and make sure there's accountability."

Taylor was not on-duty and not driving a sheriff’s office vehicle at the time of the crash.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 7.

10-year-old Colorado girl paralyzed after I-70 crash, family pushing for accountability in case

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